Last updated: 2001.11.16

Verizon ISDN Horror Stories

It is Nov 2001. This saga started in August 1996 and still going.... in three parts: The move, the cancellation, the re-ordering:

Part I -- The Move (1996)

Aug 26, 1996, 2pm

It all began when I want to move from Arlington to Lexington. Verizon was called NYNEX then. I had an ISDN line for about a year in Arlington. In preparation for my move, I Call NYNEX home market center to move my voice line from my old house to the new one. No problem, then I Asked about moving the ISDN line.

NYNEX: NYNEX cannot move an ISDN line. You have to cancel the existing line and order a new one.

PK: Fine. Canceled existing line.

Call 1-800-GET-ISDN. Listen to recording for 10 minutes. Have work to do. Call back four times. An hour later got to a real person.

PK: I like to order a ISDN line. I want CSV only line 1B channel.

Robin at NYNEX: Okay. Take down name and address and service desired. This is your order number N5RN1309. You can use that to reference the order. We will pre-qualify you and call you back in 7 to 10 days.

PK: Great. I needed metropolitan service on the voice portion of that line. Can you put that on the order?

Robin: Sorry, we don't deal with that. You have to call the business office.

I call the business office. A nice lady answered:

NYNEX: We don't deal with that. Let me transfer you over to the ISDN group.

PK: Noooooo...(I know she will get the same 10 minutes wait time).

Too late. I waited until she got connected, and conferenced another ISDN rep, Philip into the conversation.

PK: I just ordered an ISDN line. I need to make sure that my service is set for Metropolitan unlimited.

Philip at NYNEX: We'll do that Metropolitan thing later. Let me bring up your order.

At this point, the business office lady dropped out. I gave Philip the order number, but:

Philip: Sorry, we cannot use the order number to locate your order. We can only use first name last name. It's our computer system.

What a joke, but what can I do. I gave him my first and last name.

Philip: Sorry sir, I cannot find that order. Robin took your order? She is not here right now. Don't worry, I'll enter a new order for you.

PK: Fine. I gave him the same information again.

Sept. 3rd. 1996

It's time to check the loop qualification results. Call 1-800-GET-ISDN. Wasted 14 minutes waiting for a rep. So what's new. Someone picked up. I asked for Philip.

Philip at NYNEX: Sorry sir, I cannot find your order.

PK: What? You took it yourself! I repeated the whole story. How Philip cannot find Robin's order etc. Philip spent another 20 minutes on the keyboard.

Philip: Here is your order sir -- Robin typed an extra hyphen in front of your name! I fixed it for you. There is no status on your order. Robin will call you when the line is pre-qual.

PK: What about the order that you took?

Philip: There is no such order. I did not take you order.

I gave up. Who cares as long as there is at least one order. Reps who cannot type. Order entry system cannot track orders. What kind of operation is that? Pre-qualify cannot take that long, so I press a bit:

PK: Can I get this pre-qual thing done faster? I am moving soon, and I need this line.

Philip: Sorry. Nothing I can do. Have a great day.

Sept. 4. 1996

It's time to call them everyday. Another rep answer the phone.

PK: Can I check on my order -- here is my first and last name (I am learning).

NYNEX: Sure. Your order has been pre-qualified for a few days. Your rep (Robin) will call you to schedule an installation in 15 to 20 days.

PK: Great. (I thought, wrongly).

Sept. 17, 1996, nearly two weeks later.

I moved. It's time to check my ISDN order. Call 1-800-GET-ISDN, waited 20 minutes (you got the picture)...

PK: I was told two weeks ago that my line is pre-qualified. Can you tell me what my installation date will be?

NYNEX: Sorry sir, we do not have any billing information from you. The order has not been sent to the installation group. We need to make a firm order.

PK: What do you mean? I gave the billing information to Robin on day one.

NYNEX: No sir, Robin should be calling you after the pre-qualification to get your billing information and turn your order into a firm order. She will call you soon. (Ready to hang up).

PK: You mean my order is sitting in your system because Robin is busy? Transfer me to Robin now.

Another 10 minutes later, I get to Robin. I gave her all the same billing information that I gave her from day one. I thought my order was firm. That would be too easy.

Robin at NYNEX: Okay, when I have a installation date, I'll call you.

PK: Right -- Can I speak with your supervisor?

Many waits, holds, and phone calls later that day, I got hold of the supervisor Karen.

PK: Hi, your phone rep has never called me once. My line is pre-qualified two weeks ago and nobody has called once. How can I expedite this order?

Karen at NYNEX: The installation is so backed up that there is no way I can expedite your order. Have a nice day...

After spending another 10 minutes talking with this “supervisor” looking for another level of management to talk to, she said I have to call the normal NYNEX to complaint. She cannot give me a manager's name, nor a number, nor an address. She will not give me even her last name.

I called the NYNEX residential market center trying to locate the complaint department. They sent me to the business office. The business center rep gave me a fax number (317-471-6689) and asked me to fax a complaint to that number. However he cannot tell me where that number is going. He suggested I call the president's office.

I left a complaint message at the president's office on Tuesday afternoon, and a Mr. Brad Ryan returned my call with a few hours. I was impressed! I explained what is happening, and he promised that he will get them to expedite my order. I will hear from their ISDN department next day, he said.

Friday came, no one called. I called Ryan directly.

PK: I talked with you Tuesday and you said someone will call me.

Ryan at NYNEX: I asked the ISDN people to call you Wednesday! I'll call them again.

Now I actually feel better. The ISDN people (which I later found out that was Telamon in IL) is not just ignoring customers, they are ignoring the NYNEX presidents office as well.

Finally I received a phone call from the Telamon people -- my first phone call from them! This is Connie.

Connie at NYNEX: Hi. Your line has been qualified. I need some billing information to do a firm order for you.

PK: What do you mean? I gave that to Robin Tuesday.... Never mind. Here is the info.

Note that I am basically where I started. The order still has not been submitted to the installation department. I gave them my billing information four times. However, Connie did promise to get me an early installation date.

Tuesday Sept. 24th, Connie left a voice mail.

Connie: You ISDN line will be installed Oct. 3rd.

Great! Now how about that Metropolitan stuff. And I want to check my configurations also. Let's call Telamon. Luckily Connie left me a different call back number. That line was picked up only after 5 minutes, not the usual 13 minutes!

PK: Hi, I have an ISDN installation coming up. Can you verify my configuration?

NYNEX: Sorry -- The order has been submitted. I cannot tell you what the configuration is anymore. The installation person can tell you that when he comes to your house.

PK: Okay. I'll sort that out later (big mistake).

October 3rd. Installation man came. Connected my line from my basement to the outside. But he said there is cabling problem further up the road and translation problem at the office. Some other department will fix that tomorrow.

Oct. 4th 1996, Friday. I want to find out how the repair is going. I call Telamon.

PK: Can you tell me how my repair is going?

NYNEX: Your sales rep Robin handles all inquires on your order. She is out to lunch. I'll have her call you back.

Call Robin back. The usual 13 minutes hold.

Robin at NYNEX: I don't know when the repair will be completed. I'll call you back.

PK: Right. By the way, can you tell me what is my line configuration?

Robin: Sorry I do not have that information anymore. Please call the business office.

I call the business office:

Business office: We do not deal with ISDN line configuration. Please call 1-800-GET-ISDN.

PK: You know, they told me to call you.

Business office: I know. Those people...

Is it turn out, there are some general agreement between the different NYNEX departments that they have been stuck with lots of problem caused by the incompetent people “out there”. The best quote is “you know, those people are not from here, you know what I mean?”.

So. I am used to this. Call Robin back. another 10 minutes later.

Robin: Okay. I found it. You have CSD, CSV, 1B channel.

PK: Wait! I only want CSV.

Robin: It is the same thing.

I really don't think that is right, so I try a different approach:

PK: Okay, since it is the same thing, can you tell me what my monthly bill will be?

Robin: It's $5 sir.

PK: That's strange, I use to pay $8. I am learning fast here, so I ask her to FAX me a letter immediately with that information.

Well, the FAX came, and it said “it is $5, but does not include subscriber line cost, class of service, etc.”. What good is this “quote” if she do not tell me the cost of these other things? Arrgh.

Call Robin Back. Another 20 minutes later.

PK: Can you FAX me an explanation for subscriber line costs etc.?

Robin: Sorry sir, We cannot give out that information.

PK: WHAT? You cannot tell me what I have to pay each month? You must be kidding.

Robin: Let me check..... 5 minutes later. Okay here are the numbers....

PK: Please FAX that to me. And, just in case I have to change my CSD+CSV to CSV, how can I do that?

Robin: You'll have to call... the business office (of course). Have a great day!

Are you with me? I still have two problems. I need to find out if the line is fixed. And I need to change my CSD to CSV only. It's now Friday 4:30pm. I'll call the business office Monday. Afterall, I lost about two hours of work time today.

October 7, 1996, Monday. Call Business office.

PK: Can I check on an installation?

NYNEX: It shows that the line is working. If it is not, I can schedule a visit.

PK: Fine. When can you come out?

NYNEX: Tomorrow Tuesday 3pm.

PK: That's great. Thank you.

Oct. 8 1996, Tuesday. I took half day off. Waited at home until 3:30pm. Nobody showed. I called the repair line.

Repair Line: We are running behind. I'll call dispatch for you. Call back in an hour.

PK: Call back in an hour:

Repair Line: The order show that they line was tested 3pm Monday and it is working.

PK: What? The previous phone rep told me to wait and call back in an hour to see if the dispatch has been made! I don't think the line is working.

Repair Line: Well, it is getting late. We'll schedule another visit later in the week for you.

PK: Do you mean that I took time off for work for no good reason? I need to speak with a supervisor. (Here we go again). After some back and forth, the repair line rep told me that ISDN line is handled elsewhere. He will have the ISDN supervisor call me back within the hour. They work 24 hours a day I was told.

Now is 5:30pm. I know nothing is going to happen. I call back the repair line and complain again. After some discussion, they gave me the number of the ISDN repair department! That is a no-customer-call number!

I call the ISDN line repair line. The tech that answer the phone was very good. He was not please that I got his number, but he is willing to run a test.

NYNEX Tech: I got nothing on a loop back. Is your equipment on?

PK: Yes they are. By the way, what configuration do you think I have?

NYNEX Tech: Well, you line is not working. According to me you have ATT national standard DSL.

PK: Well, I need point to point ATT custom.

NYNEX Tech: That is what's wrong! You need to change your line configuration -- call the 1-800-GET-ISDN number.

Yeah right. I explained that the Telamon people cannot even tell me what is my current configuration. So the tech gave me the data engineering number and canceled the dispatch for tomorrow.

October 9, 1996 Wed.

I call the data engineering number first thing in the morning. I told them what I needed, and I faxed over a detail configuration listing to a Mary, to make sure that they have the information.

While I was on the phone a NYNEX technician showed up at my house. His dispatch was not canceled. Since he is here, he want to check the lines anyway. He cannot get the line to work, even with the old configuration. Something else is wrong. Since I told him that I need to change the configuration anyway, he said I should wait. So he left.

Later that day, I call the data service back to confirm that my configuration can be changed, and changed quickly. Mary said she never received the fax. I sent it over again. Since I wanted them to make the change quicker then the standard 5 days turnaround, I needed to talked with a supervisor. Several phone calls later, I got hold of a supervisor Christine.

Christine: I will try my best to get the configuration changed by Friday. (We are getting close)?

October 11, 1996 Friday. Nothing is working. I called Christine.

Christine: I am still trying to get someone to do the work. Maybe they can do it overnight Friday.

October 12, 1996, Sat. I called ISDN tech support to see if the configuration was changed because the line is still not working. The tech support rep said the configuration was indeed changed! So something else is wrong (as noted by the service rep on Wed). So the tech offered to schedule a dispatch ASAP and I got a Sunday morning dispatch.

October 13, 1996 Sun.

The same technician came to my house. Found some other cable problem outside and fixed it. The line is finally working. But this is not the end of my problems...

October 17, 1996, Thurs.

I received a bill from NYNEX. The bill is enclosed. There were multiple things wrong with this bill:

  • My voice service on the bill is for one-party measured residence service. I ordered Metropolitan.
  • There are items marked “AT&T LONG DISTANCE SVC” which are nothing to do with AT&T. Turned out whomever entered the billing information is not doing it right at all.
  • I got charged for a jack and outside wire totaled 6.39 that I don't think should be there.
  • I got credit for prorated service from Sept. 9 to Oct. 3 since my installation date is Oct. 3 and the billing period is from Sept. 9. That is great except that my line is not functional until Oct. 13th.

October 18, 1996 Friday

I called NYNEX home center to dispute my bill. I talked with a rep who said since it is ISDN he cannot help and promptly transfer me to 1-800-GET-ISDN even after I told him that the GET-ISDN people will not handle billing question. He transferred me anyway. In fact the recording on the GET-ISDN number explicitly said not to call with billing questions.

I called back, spoke with another rep, whom was patience but cannot help me. So I was transferred to a supervisor. The supervisor was patience but still cannot explain all the issues. She ended up switching my voice portion back from measured service to metropolitan for me. She offered to check the ISDN items for me by calling 1-800-GET-ISDN herself, since she does not have the information. I wished her luck. She also gave me credit for the remaining of the time that my service was not functional. Is this the end of my problems? No chance.

Nov. 24. 1996

Bill for October Arrives. This bill in theory should have my first month of real usage, under the metropolitan plan with unlimited service and some credit for the non functioning portion of October. Instead, I got billed for some other stuff that makes no sense. Should I call the billing department?

Part II -- Cancelling ISDN (2000)

September 27, 2000

Yes -- we jump forward foru years to 2000. I since then had DSL installed, which is another story. So after two years of DSL, I decided to disconnect my ISDN line. Call the phone company, which is now called "Verizon" (what a stupid name). Called the residential service.

PK: Hello -- my number is xxx-xxx-xxxx and I want to disconnect the service.

Verizon: Sure. type, type, type... Oh this is an ISDN Line. I cannot cancel an ISDN line, let me transfer you to the ISDN department.

PK: ....waiting....

ISDN Dept: Hello?

PK: my number is xxx-xxx-xxxx and I want to disconnect the service.

ISDN Dept: No problem....type,type,type... it will be disconnected in a few days. You will have voice service only.

PK: No ! I want to cancel the entire line.

ISDN Dept: Oh -- I need to transfer you back to the voice department to do that...transfer...

Voice Dept: Hello?

PK: I need to cancel my voice line. The ISDN Dept cancelled the ISDN part. They say you need to cancel the line.

Voice Dept: We cannot do that. Let me transfer you back to the ISDN Dept..

ISDN Dept:...etc....

I get them to cancel my line finally.

Oct 10, 2000.

I received a bill (with automatic debit at my bank) for full service for month of October. Something is wrong. I call Verizon again.

Voice Dept: Hello?

PK: (I know this part). I need to cancel my ISDN service and the full line.

Voice: Let me transfer you to the ISDN Dept.

PK: Sure (I knew that).

ISDN: Hello?

PK: I need to cancel my entire service. I have ISDN. I called before.

ISDN: Let me see, there is a record of you calling Sept 27, but nothing was done. I can cancel the service for you and backdate the cancellation. You should get a credit all the way back to Sept.

Well, as of now (Oct 15) the line is supposed to be cancelled a few business days. We will see.

Part III - Re Ordering ISDN (2001)

The year is 2001. My DSL is not working well. It will cut out when the weather is bad. I am giving up. Plus I found out this little gem of a way to order 128K ISDN line cheap (cheap being relative to the old ISDN pricing).

May 2001


Even now, each month, I received a nice voice mail on my phone that tells me what is this month's true payment for my ISDN service, instead of the $500+ that they put on my monthly bill.